When writing a job description to attract applicants, think of it as a skills wish list – all the skill sets that would be fantastic to have in one person who can do it all. However, that is potentially an unlikely find. The trick, though, is to write your list of office administrator skills in a way that doesn’t prevent people from applying just because they’re lacking a few of the listed qualifications. With job descriptions for the role itself, so the administrator understands the duties, it’s important to make the priorities clear as well as how the administrator can best use her time when working autonomously.
Duties of an Administrator
They say the most important consideration of a business is “location, location, location,” but location is important in jobs too because the role of an administrator in a school is different than in a law firm. It may be important to hire an administrator with an understanding of the fundamentals of your industry, but it’s possible that is something he can learn on the job, provided that he can do the essential tasks to keep the workplace running.
Ideal skills and typical duties for an administrator include:
- Great at communication
- Detail oriented and capable of multitasking and focusing despite frequent interruptions
- Clerical skills and solid data entry
- Proficient at scheduling and coordinating
- Adept with computers and versatile with program suites like Microsoft Office
- Great at customer service and secretarial or reception duties
A Sample Job Description
For a routine office job, a good basic job description would be: “The primary duties of office administration are to keep the office running smoothly while being the front line in handling inquiries and calls from clients, partner businesses and anyone else contacting the office. This means answering phone calls swiftly, replying to emails, addressing in-person needs from anyone at the front desk, from clients to couriers, all while ensuring that office tasks are completed in a timely manner.
“This is also a supporting role to ensure that other employees in the office, from colleagues to management, are assisted in routine matters like couriering and receiving packages, copying and collating documents, ordering needed supplies and archiving files and other materials. Administration staff must be proficient in all areas of Microsoft Office and have excellent skills in organization, word processing, database management and record keeping.
Administrators are expected to be present during business “open” hours to receive calls and handle customer service. They may be required to work overtime periodically in order to support other employees who are facing difficult deadlines, so some flexibility is needed. Administrators will have to interact with staff at all levels of the company and will need good communication skills, both in speaking and writing, with excellent written English and grammar.”
An administrator’s job has industry-specific skills or duties that need to be performed to keep the business running smoothly. Someone working in the restaurant industry may have to know how to deal with the press and public personalities as well as product suppliers.
In a law office, they’ll need to understand basic legal jargon, court schedules, the urgency of contracts and other deadlines and how critical couriers can be. In a school setting, the administrative staff will have to deal with everything from building calamities like plumbing issues to misbehaving children and irate parents.
Job descriptions help keep employees focused and empowered. A clear job description also helps potential new hires understand the position for which they’re applying, and it aids human resources in finding the perfect fit.